An Algorithmic and Social Introduction to Computer Science (CSC-105 2000S)

Who do you consider responsible for the damage caused by viruses and why?


Who else could possibly be responsible for the damages caused by viruses, but the creators. The argument could be made that it is the users fault for his/her ignorance. Hackers would have a much tougher time infiltrating systems and having successful viruses if there were strict standards, but this means that users would have to forfeit the ease by implementing such standards. I good analogy for this situation is having a broom out on your porch stolen or damaged. You would think that you could leave your broom outside without having anything happen to it. Why would anyone want to damage or steal your broom. The only reason would be their mal-intent and not for any real reason.

In my opinion, it is still the hackers fault. The problem is that it is difficult to place someone responsible when half the time you do not even know who the actual person is. Hackers (virus creators) can wreck havoc behind the veil of a computer screen and not ever be seen.


I think that it's difficult to place the blame on anyone except the virus creator. I don't think anyone should be expected to keep up with absolutely every virus or have backups of backups of backups. Sure, one can be smart and install virus protection software, or one can be stupid and download random things she knows nothing about, but regardless, both the smart and the stupid are vulnerable and they wouldn't be if the viruses weren't created in the first place. I feel like we can't 'blame the victim' because eventually, everyone's a victim, but only some people create the viruses.


i think the person who designed the virus is responsible. of course, there's a big difference between who i consider is resonsible and who actually has to bear the consequences. obviously, it's very difficult to trace and track down who made a virus, especially if it's not the same person who released it, but i think the inventor (designer) has to bear some responsiblity here. i'm going to make an analogy that's a little extreme, but kind of like the scientists who made the bombs we dropped on japan in wwii. many of them have since committed suicide. true, they were not the physical perpetrators of the crime, but they obviously felt personal responsiblitity for directly enabling it. as i feel they should. the same is true here, if on a lesser basis. the sole intent of a virus is to harm, when you get right down to it. even if the damage is mild, or disguised as a way to "test" the security of a system. there is no such thing as a virus with good intentions. though i may agree with the point in the text that one of the things we need to do is make viruses more difficult to make, we also, as the text mentioned as well, need to make people more aware of and accountable for their actions, especially in this virtual world we're now living in...


Primarily it is the person who designs and implements a virus who is responsible for the damage caused. They usually have a malicious intent to cause harm to computer systems, they take steps to create a virus, and they release it in some manner to create computer damage. In this sense, it is just like damaging property, and so the creator of the virus should be held accountable for the damage. If there are intermediary mistakes made by others who fail to check for viruses periodically, or who use disks that have not be virus checked,(or that "accidentally" create a virus--which still sounds somewhat difficult to accept) they are somewhat responsible for the damage, but it is the designer of the virus that should be held responsible first and foremost. It may be difficult to find the creator, and so many users may end up blaming themselves for not being more careful and checking more effectively for virus invasions.



I consider the creator of the virus or user who intentional infected computers (from here on computer includes any media which a virus could infect) if such a person exists, responsible for damage. No virus is accidentally created. The author maliciously and freely (without coercion) created a virus to damage computers.

The virus is able in infect computers intentionally or unintentionally. A user who unintentionally infects computers should not be held responsible because the user acted in ignorance. A user who intentionally infects computers should be held responsible because the user acted under her/his own volition and had malicious intentions.

The owner of the computers that are infected should not be held responsible. Even if, there were preventative measures available for the owner to implement to prevent the infection of their computers, unpreparedness fails to justify immoral activity. Assuming that unpreparedness justifies the illegal action is similar to saying, the robbery of a unsuspecting victims is justified because they were unprepared to defend themselves. Advancing the argument that everyone must look out for their own self interests is similar to Thomas Hobbes description of life in the state of nature over 400 years ago:

"...continual fear, and danger of violent death and the life of man (sic. woman), solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."


I consider the people who devised, wrote, and executed the viruses responsible. Organizations, such as Microsoft, are indirectly responsible, because they often produce software that is easy to corrupt with a virus. I also consider the user (i.e. the person who contracts the virus) responsible, because if he/she were more informed, there are things they could do to prevent getting the virus at all. But, I would have to say that the author/maker of the virus is the most responcible, since they are the primary malifactors of the computer-harming virus.


I consider the author of the virus responsible for damage caused by computer viruses. There are many ways to write benign viruses that don't actually seriously damage computer systems or networks. However, most viruses aren't that nice. The "test of security" principle Forester and Morrison cite as a reason for viruses that some "hackers" use is great, but most viruses I know of can be shown to have penetrated security without damage. Also, our tendency to blame the victim doesn't work here because even an anti-virus program updated yesterday is obsolete in dealing with the newest viruses and the victims of such attacks can't be expected to deal with every possible kind of virus. If we spend our entire lives paranoid of viruses, it will be very difficult to accomplish anything with our computers.



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